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Friday, September 13, 2013

New Look of Buddha Bihar in Ramu

Buddhist settlements in Ramu and Ukhia of Cox’s Bazar came under communal attacks on September 29 last year. Fanatics attacked Buddhist homes and temples. Many monasteries were torched and vandalized at the time. Beautiful new temples have now been constructed from the ashes of the destruction. These new temples are a sight to behold!
Buddhist monks emotionally revealed their wondrous reaction to the beautifully reconstructed and restored Buddhist Bihars and monasteries. They said they never imagined the government would do something like this.
The monks said these temples have been modelled in the image of the some of the world-famous monasteries. These monks who could only shed tears at the cruel destruction of their centuries old holiest structures and long standing communal harmony are now happy once again.

Led by Lt. Col. Kazi Ifthekkharul Alam of Dhaka Army Headquarters GSO-1, 30 reporters were invited to visit the newly reconstructed Buddha Bihars and monasteries in Ramu and Ukhia. There the monks described everything that has happened since the fateful night of September 29 last year. 19 Buddhist temples were torched or vandalised by religious fanatics in Cox’s Bazar. At the Prime Minister’s directive the Engineering Corps of 17 ECB Battalion of Bangladesh Army in Cox’s Bazar undertook the reconstruction and renovation of the temples while the Border Guard Bangladesh rebuilt the homes. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs had allocated Tk 200 million for the project. When the funds were delayed, Army Chief Iqbal Karim Bhuiyan advanced Tk 50 million from Army Welfare Fund. Under the project, seven temples were reconstructed and five repaired in Ramu while five reconstructed and two repaired in Ukhia.
AS Anwar Hossain, deputy commanding officer of the battalion supervised the work. Lt Col Zulfikar Rahman, commanding officer of the 17 ECB Battalion of Bangladesh Army executed the project within 8 short months.
The construction work was completed on June 30. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the temples on September 3. The monks said crowds are now thronging to these new temples. Previously they were just dilapidated crude constructions where no one other than the locals came. They said they can’t express their gratitude to the government in words.
A monk at one of the oldest Rakhine Bihars said they were resentful of the looting and destruction. But their wounds have now been soothed. The Buddhist community will always remember this assistance.

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